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Tkachuk sends Panthers to Stanley Cup Final, after topping Hurricanes 4-3 for sweep

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SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) — Matthew Tkachuk delivered for Florida, again. Sergei Bobrovsky denied Carolina, again.

The wait is over: After 27 years, the Florida Panthers — a hockey punchline no more — are again going to play for the game’s grandest prize.

Tkachuk got his second goal of the game with 4.9 seconds left, lifting the Panthers past the Carolina Hurricanes 4-3 and into the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since 1996 after sweeping the Eastern Conference final.

The Panthers will play either Vegas or Dallas for the Stanley Cup starting sometime next week; Vegas currently leads the Western Conference title series 3-0.

“This was pure joy,” Panthers coach Paul Maurice said.

Bobrovsky stopped 36 shots to cap his stellar series — four games, four one-goal wins, three of them basically in sudden death, a .966 save percentage after stopping 174 of the 180 shots he faced. The first two wins were in overtime, and this one may as well have been.

The Panthers scored 10 goals in the series, and Bobrovsky ensured those were all they needed. They were the No. 8 seed, the last team in, the longest of long shots — which is consistent with their history, after not winning a single playoff series in 26 years, a drought that ended last season.

And now, beasts of the East. Tkachuk arrived last summer saying he wanted to bring Florida a Cup. He’s four wins away.

“It’s amazing,” Bobrovsky said. “We showed the resilience … and we’re lucky to have Chucky on our side. He knows how to score big goals.”

NHL Senior Vice President Brian Jennings was the one tasked with presenting the Prince of Wales Trophy. After some photos, Aleksander Barkov — the captain who had two assists, one of them on the game-winner — grabbed it, and skated it away. Some teams touch it. Some don’t. A few of the Panthers did, but Barkov didn’t pass it around.

That’ll wait for the big prize.

“It’s hard to explain right now. Everything just happened so quick,” Barkov said. “It means a lot. It definitely does. … It hasn’t been easy and nobody said it’s going to be easy.”

Added Tkachuk: “We earned that thing, and definitely didn’t do it the easy way. We earned it.”

Ryan Lomberg and Anthony Duclair had the other goals for Florida, which swept a series for the first time in franchise history.

Jordan Staal — his brothers Eric and Marc play for the Panthers — took a tripping penalty with 57 seconds left in regulation, setting up the power-play that Tkachuk finished off after getting into the slot and beating Frederik Andersen to set off a wild celebration.

“Eastern Conference champions,” Florida defenseman Aaron Ekblad said. “It’s really cool. No doubt about it. But you know, at the end of the day, we have our eyes on something different.”

Toy rats — the Panthers’ tradition, a nod to the unwanted locker room guests from Florida’s old arena in 1996 — sailed down from the stands, and the goal needed to survive an official review. But the rats were picked up, the goal was deemed good, and 27 years of waiting was officially over 4.9 seconds later.

Jesper Fast seemed like he might have saved the season for Carolina, getting a tying goal with 3:22 left in regulation. Paul Stastny and Teuvo Teravainen had the first two goals of the night for the Hurricanes, while Brady Skjei and Jordan Martinook each had two assists. Andersen stopped 21 shots.

“Everyone’s going to say, ‘You got swept.’ That’s not what happened,” Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “I watched the game. I’m there. I’m cutting the games. We’re in the game. We didn’t lose four games. We got beat, but we were right there. This could have went the other way. It could have been four games the other way.”

That wasn’t sour grapes. He was right. A bounce here, a bounce there, a Bobrovsky not here, a Bobrovsky not there, and this series could have gone much differently.

But Bob was his best. Tkachuk was clutch, over and over. And Florida is as close to a Cup as it has ever been; the Panthers were swept by Colorado in the 1996 final.

Towels waved, strobe lights flashed, and the fans wasted no time letting the Panthers know that they were ready to a clincher.

Tkachuk made it 2-0 on the power play midway through the first. Carolina — a 113-point, division-championship-winning team in the regular season — made it 2-1 later in the first on Stastny’s goal, and Teravainen tied it early in the second.

Lomberg’s goal midway through the second gave Florida the lead again. It stayed that way until Fast got the equalizer with 3:22 left, and then Tkachuk finished it off — getting the Panthers to the title round in his first season.

“It’s been unbelievable since July since I got here,” Tkachuk said. “And hopefully we can cap off this amazing year.”

AROUND THE RINK

Panthers general manager Bill Zito was announced earlier Wednesday as a finalist for NHL GM of the year. … Tkachuk’s two goals gave him 21 points in the playoffs — extending his Florida single-season postseason record, which was 17 by Dave Lowry in 1996. … Slavin was quickly ruled out for the remainder of the game after Bennett’s hit, with what the Hurricanes said was “an upper-body injury.” Slavin wobbled as he tried to get to his feet. … Miami Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel — who has also been a regular at Miami Heat games during their playoff run this spring — banged the drum before the game. When done, without a mic to drop, he simply dropped the mallet instead.

TWO-GOAL EDGE

Tkachuk’s goal midway through the opening period put Florida up 2-0 — and marked the first time, in nearly 14 periods of play to that point, that a team had a two-goal lead in this series. Every bit of action came with the score tied or someone up by one in the first 272 minutes (including all the overtimes) of the series.

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South Florida News

Derrick Hayes, the founder and CEO of Big Dave’s Cheesesteaks, joined forces with DJ Khaled and Jay “Jeezy” Jenkins for a day of golf in Miami

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Miami, FL – This week, Derrick Hayes, the founder and CEO of Big Dave’s Cheesesteaks, joined forces with DJ Khaled and Jay “Jeezy” Jenkins for a day of golf in Miami, FL. The trio came together to support Jeezy’s philanthropic endeavors and enjoy a day of friendly competition on the golf course in celebration of the money raised at the 3rd annual Sno Ball Gala fundraiser.

Derrick Hayes had previously attended the Sno Ball Gala, created and hosted by his friend, Mr. Jenkins, in October. During the event, he placed a generous donation to the foundation. The Sno Ball Gala is a charitable event that raises funds for Jeezy’s Street Dreamz Foundation, a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

Street Dreamz Foundation is dedicated to empowering at-risk youth and fostering their leadership skills through various programs. The foundation’s mission is to encourage independence, respect for others, and motivate each child to reach their ultimate potential in their area of interest.

Derrick Hayes, known for his successful business ventures, is no stranger to supporting causes that make a positive impact on the community. He continues to demonstrate his commitment to philanthropy and empowering the next generation.

 

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South Florida News

Tamarac City Commission Appoints Caribbean-American Morey Wright as Vice Mayor

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TAMARAC, Fla. (December 15, 2023) – During the City of Tamarac’s Dec. 13, regular City Commission meeting, the Tamarac City Commission unanimously voted to appoint District 2 Commissioner, Morey Wright, as the City’s Vice Mayor.

 

Wright will serve as Vice Mayor for a one-year term, with the responsibility of acting as Mayor in the Mayor’s absence.

 

He was elected to the Tamarac City Commission in November 2022. During his time in office, he has represented the City of Tamarac as a voting delegate for the 97th Annual Florida League of Cities Conference. Wright also served as chair of the auditor selection committee.

 

“I’m honored to be appointed as Tamarac’s Vice Mayor,” said Wright. “I am excited to continue to work with the Commission, residents and community members to develop meaningful programs and initiatives that will positively impact Tamarac and ensure that our City remains a vibrant and thriving community for all.”

 

Born in the Virgin Islands to a Virgin Islander mother and a Jamaican father, Wright is a University of Florida alumnus who graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. He also earned two master’s degrees in business and government from Johns Hopkins University.

 

Professionally, Wright is an executive at a South Florida-based e-commerce company. He also owns a small business that consults on digital technology and marketing.

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South Florida News

Inaugural Reggae Genealogy Concert Event Comes to Plantation, Florida

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Plantation, Florida – On Saturday, February 10, 2024, in celebration of Reggae Month, the story of the Caribbean’s most prolific music genre will be presented to South Florida in a bold new way. The inaugural historical retrospective and concert event “Reggae Genealogy – The Origins, Evolution and Influence of Jamaican Music,” produced by Island SPACE Caribbean Museum, will be presented in the city of Plantation, Florida. A blend of entertainment and education, this event will showcase live performances including music and dance, archival video elements and contemporary narratives for a fully immersive experience. Reggae Genealogy will take place in the northeast parking lot of the Broward Mall.

 

The entire history of Jamaican music will find representation. Beloved icons who are no longer with us, such as Harry Belafonte, the first recording artist to sell a million records in the U.S., will speak to the audience in recorded video. Living legends like Mykal Rose of Black Uhuru, the first reggae band to win a Grammy, will make special guest appearances.

 

Reggae Genealogy event is presented in partnership with Broward Mall and the City of Plantation, and made possible in part by the support of the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Arts and Culture, the Florida Council on Arts and Culture, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the Broward County Cultural Division, Grace Foods, Jamaica Tourist Board, Blue Mahoe Capital, the Beach Channel, Visit Lauderdale, Only the Best Printing and the following funds at the Community Foundation of Broward: Judith Cornfeld Fund for the Arts, Helen and Frank Stoykov Charitable Endowment Fund and The Frederick A. DeLuca Foundation Broward Community Fund.

The three-hour showcase will trace the early beginnings of popular Jamaican music, prior to Jamaican independence from Britain in 1962, to the present, touching on mento, ska, Nyabinghi, rocksteady, lover’s rock, dub, reggae and dancehall. The showcase will also highlight the influence of Jamaican music on genres such as hip hop, reggaeton, EDM and Afrobeats.

 

To execute the inaugural staging of Reggae Genealogy, Island SPACE has assembled an experienced team of experts in reggae music history, event production and business. The team includes Lloyd Stanbury – one of the founders of Reggae Month and of the first Jamaican all-reggae radio station, IRIE FM, and Calibe Thompson and David I. Muir – the former producers of The Taste the Islands Experience culinary festival, and co-founders of Island SPACE. Other team members include authors, documentarians, television and video producers, radio personalities and choreographers.

 

The gates open at 3 p.m. with showtime at 6 p.m. Pre-sold tickets are $20 or $25 at the gate. Afternoon attendees can enjoy restaurant and artisan vendors and tours of Island SPACE Caribbean Museum inside the Broward Mall. Find tickets, general, sponsorship, vendor and volunteer information at www.reggaegenealogy.org

 

Island Society for the Promotion of Artistic and Cultural Education (Island SPACE) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to the advancement of arts, culture, history, and educational initiatives that represent the Caribbean region, in South Florida and the broader diaspora. The public is invited to visit the Caribbean museum Thursdays through Saturdays from 11:00 a.m. through 7:00 p.m. and Sundays from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. General museum entry is $10 per adult and $5 per child. Visit www.islandspacefl.org to learn more.

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